noiseredux vs.

Posted on Apr 10th 2011 at 03:50:54 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Fighting, PS1, PS2, PSP

The picture above is my personal Darkstalkers collection. It's a series that I have in the past several months become completely addicted to. My first introduction to the world of Darkstalkers was through Capcom Vs. SNK 2 where I started using Morrigan and realized that her move-set was so intuitive to me that I was just as good with her (or better) than I was with Chun-Li, who had been my standard fighter since Street Fighter II was released all those many years ago. After doing a bit of research (namely on I learned that Darkstalkers was essentially the coolest thing ever:  a combination of Street Fighter style fighting and a horror movie theme. I was sold.

When I started collection PlayStation games again this year one of the first games I picked up was Darkstalkers 3 due to a deal I couldn't pass up. The game seemed totally brilliant to me. Using Morrigan, I zipped right through it -- continuing only once. I was now officially hooked. I picked up a copy of Darkstalkers Chronicles on PSP soon thereafter, and same thing. One sitting, one continue. Yes, this was definitely a series that I could connect to in a big way. I quickly started collecting all the releases for Sony consoles. As such, let's take a look at them all.

Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors was released for the original PlayStation pretty early in the console's lifetime. Note the longbox. Although there's some frustrating load times, the game is a pretty great arcade conversion. It looks fantastic with its huge 2D sprites, especially considering Sony's early plan to hype 3D as much as they could with their new system. Of note however is the insane difficulty of this one. The AI is incredibly brutal -- something that separates it from the other Darkstalkers releases. It's also worth noting that the Japanese version (titled Vampire) is worth considering as it features bonus music videos not present in the US release.

Sadly the second Darkstalkers game wasn't released on the PlayStation. Though in 2005 Japan received a PS2 collection of all five of the Darkstalkers arcade games. Unfortunately for we import collectors, this game has a strange glitch that causes it to freeze up whenever a game is selected at the title screen. So unless you've got a Japanese console, the disc is entirely unplayable via normal import-loading methods.

Darkstalkers 3 is pretty much the finest example of the Darkstalkers experience on a home console. Though loading times are present, they're not game-killing. The graphics are gorgeous. The controls are flawless. Since first playing this one, it has become one of my all time favorite 2D fighting games ever. So certainly I've got a level of bias. But considering the fact that it can be had at a reasonable price on the aftermarket (as opposed to even the inferior first game) there's no reason that fans of the genre should overlook this one.

Darkstalkers Chronicles: The Chaos Tower was actually a launch-title for the PSP. Odd considering the lack of mainstream popularity for the series. The game is basically a mega-mix of the first three games. It incorporates all of the characters, moves and styles of each game into one big collection. Though the PSP interface isn't exactly meant for fighting games, this is actually a pretty great release for fans of the series. It looks great, and is certainly playable. An online option would have been a welcome addition though, and sadly the game wasn't exactly a big seller so a PSP sequel is unlikely.

Capcom released two UMD Videos exclusively through GameStop known as Night Warriors Darkstalkers Alpha and Omega. These are actually collections of the anime series that had originally been released on VHS. They look great, and add a bit of background to the characters. And considering their exclusivity through GameStop, they are actually a bit tricky to find these days. Definitely a cool collectible.

Although the Darkstalkers series seems slightly forgotten these days, many of the characters live on in other Capcom fighting games. The Capcom Vs. series has featured many of them (and this blog may touch upon that in the nearish future as well). But Darkstalkers still maintains a cult audience as well. There's a bounty of comic books, cartoons, soundtracks and figurines out there for collectors to delve into. Further proof of what a unique series it really was.

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I picked up a Darkstalkers VHS from Goodwill that I haven't had a chance to watch, and I own a Morrigan cel that was given to me a long time ago. I've always thought the Darkstalkers series was interesting, but I never played it on console (just arcade).

I'll try hunting down a copy of Darkstalkers 3 based on your advice, though Smiley
I guess I'm not the only fan.  BTW, guess who's picture I couldn't pass up last weekend at the anime convention...
haha that co-splay is great OatBob. I have a pic of me standing next to "Morrigan" at PAX East from this year too.
I've been looking to get some of the games in the Darkstalkers series, but they can be pretty pricey. Trying to get a reasonably priced copy of Night Warriors is a struggle. One of these days I'll buy Vampire Savior and Vampire Hunter for my Jap Saturn.
I've been on the lookout for these games for a loooooong time. Ever since I played Marvel vs Capcom. Havnt seen any of them locally, but have a feeling I'd enjoy them. If only I had more (any) friends that would play fighting games with me, then I could justify an online purchase.
Weekend after weekend of Night Warriors and X-Men: Children of the Atom on Saturn are some of my favorite high school memories.  My buds and I played these and a few other Saturn classics so much we practically missed the first year or two of the Playstation.  I'm glad I read your warning that the PS2 comp. import won't work on a modded American PS2, 'cause I've been thinking about ordering it for some time. 

Great write-up!
Nice article. I'm a huge fan of the series. It's is probably my second Favorite right under Castlevania. ...I even named my Cat after Demitri. Tongue I have all of the console releases minus the PS2 Import which I plan on picking up eventually, and I'm curently working on getting a Darkstalkers arcade cabinet for my gameroom. You did forget to mention the Vampire Chronicles compilation that came out for the Japanese Dreamcast about ten years ago though. It's worth getting as well, but I don't know if it's pricey these days or not.
@Dev1anc3: yeah if you notice my collection is entirely the Sony releases.
@noiseredux:@noiseredux: Oh, I see now... My bad. Sega gets no love I guess. Tongue I really do wish that they would bring this series back, but I doubt it would do well. The best to hope for would be an HD rerelease on XBL or PSN I guess...  something in the vein of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD would be sweet.
Looks like a cool series.
I have heard that the Saturn version of Darkstalkers 3 is actually better because it uses the RAM cartridge [even better than the DC version, except for the fact that the DC version had online play], but the PS1 version is great, too.

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